Andreas Steding


No. of Players:
2 - 5



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Connecting cities with game pieces, getting victory points for completing routes between two cities. Didnīt we have something like that in the past already? Right. A recent example for such a kind of game was Via Romana that presented to us by GOLDSIEBER in 2008, a good but easy family game. Hansa Teutonica published by the German publisher ARGENTUM is a very similar game on first sight. Other than GOLDSIEBER they set their game in the time of the Hanseatic League, anytime in the 12th century. Like in Via Romana the players place their game pieces - here traders - on a road between two cities. But the game is much more complex and offers interested players a lot of possibilities to try different tactics. So it is much more than a simple family game and it will need some time to find the best way to win the game.


In Hansa Teutonica every player gets his own escritoire where he marks his skills. All spaces of the skill tracks that are not played free are covered with wooden cubes - the traders. Once a player improves his skills he takes the cube from the next space on the track. The cubes then give the player a new trader marker that he can use on the big gameboard. This board shows a map with several Hansa cities around the town of Göttingen. Each city has one to four coloured spaces where the players can establish offices. But before a player can do this he first has to occupy all spaces on a route to this city. However, other players may think similar, and so a main task of the game is to cleverly displace traders of other players and quickly move own traders to the right spaces on the board.


During the game the traders are held in two different places. In the stock there are all traders a player may use in his action phase, but he may not set them on the board before he has put them into his personal supply by an action.

The players can improve different skills during the game. Normally it is not advisable and also not possible to improve all skills similarly to a higher level. Depending on the players' preferences they should select their favorite skills, and the choice made mainly influences the players' possible tactics in the further course of the game. One of the most underestimated skills by a beginner is the "town key". This determines the playerīs overall standing in the Hanseatic League. The reason why it is underestimated is that it has no function during the game. Only at the end of the game you will see its strength. Then the longest network of a player (adjacent cities where the player has established an office) is multiplied with the prestige points on the town key track. Of course it only makes sense to improve this skill if you have a chance to establish a long trading route of connected cities.

The next skill determines the number of actions a player can perform during a turn. Beginners tend to develop this skill excessively. Of course it is not exactly a disadvantage if you have a lot of actions, but after some games will recognize that the use of the other skills may be more profitable than having lots of available actions, and then the number of actions is palling a little bit. A very attractive but more pretentious skill is the "book of lore". This determines how many traders you may move within one activity. If you have a high developed book of lore, you are able to move up to five traders on the gameboard, which can have a very favourable effect. The skill of the "privilegium" tells the player which coloured spaces he may staff to establish an office. There are four different coloured spaces and with a better developed skill you are able to staff more houses than your opponents. This is quite important, because every house may only be staffed once. Last but not least there is the "money bag". This skills determines how many traders a player may move from the stock into his personal supply within a single activity. This becomes more and more important with increasing traders in the game. As you will remember more traders come into play by developing the skills. Fine-tuning skill development with the constellation given on the gameboard is one of the most important things a player must learn if he wants to win the game. However there is not a single winning strategy, and there is not the one and only tactical move that will coast you to victory. All skills have their raison dīetre, but the more you know to use and develop them, the more difficult it will become to be defeated.

Now let us have a closer look at the sequences of play. Each player performs as many activities as his current trading skill allows. First of all a player can move traders from the stock into his personal supply. The amount is given by the current value of the corresponding skill on the escritoire. Of course the traders in the personal supply want to be useful and so you can place them on any free space on a route on the gameboard by another action. Only one trader per activity is allowed, so the choice of the place plays a crucial role unless you have already four or five actions per turn. The reason for this importance is that you do not have any benefit of a route until only your own traders occupy the spaces between two cities. Removing traders of other players is much more tedious and it gives benefits to your opponents too. But it is very often the one and only possibility to complete a route, so that there are only your own traders. Once you are successful on this the way is free to establish a new office in one of the two adjacent cities of the route. But remember that this is only possible if you already have the skill to place one of your traders on the corresponding space of the town. Alternately, in some cities it is possible to improve the appropriate skill-level of the city, very important move especially at the beginning of the game. Finally there is a possibility to staff spaces on a prestige point tableau next to the route to Coellen. This can be a huge bonus at the end of the game. Independent of the choice of benefit a player choses after finishing a route, players who control the adjacent cities get prestige points on the victory point track immediately.


Establishing an uninterrupted office chain between the far most Eastern and Western cities (Arnheim and Stendal) is rewarded with extra prestige points. Finally at the end of the game all players get a lot of additional victory (prestige) points. The two most important possibilities to participate in the scoring are the bonus points on the tableau next to Coellen and prestige points for the longest network. The network bonus is calculated by multiplying the number of chained offices with the level of the town key skill. Very often this determines the winner of the game.

Hansa Teutonica is a game where you can try out a lot of things. Only if you are able to find the right answer to any given game situation you will be a successful merchant. A key role are the different skills. In some situations it is more advisable to improve the one skill, in others this turns out to be a bad blunder. But situations can change quickly and all at once the player in lead is confronted with a situation he cannot handle any more. Lucky enough the game always has some back doors. So for example you can establish a route in a unpromising area of the map, but additionally with the chance of establishing an office you get a bonus marker for that. Three of these bonus markers are held on the map continuously. They can give the player a huge advantage, for example some can improve a skill for free.

In my opinion the game has enough potential to guarantee long-time enjoyment. I found it very challenging, with a high intrigue potential. Time moves quickly and the game differs a lot every time you play it. Although there is a special rule for the two player game, you should find at least three people, because the two player variant is a little bit lengthy and the game cannot develop all of its charm. With three or more people however, you always have the complete board and it is a joy to spoil a trading route for one of your opponents by placing one of your own merchants right in the middle of his route. After Wind River in the last year, Hansa Teutonica is the next top game of the still young and small publisher ARGENTUM. Let us hope that a lot of those games will fallow and that ARGENTUM stays true to their principles. Failing to playtest the game on the convention in Essen 2009 due to the great run on the booth, I wonder what it will look like next year...

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2010 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany